I wish I knew the answer, but there is no easy way to “move” to a foreign country unless you have tons of money to invest, or at least enough money to cover your living expenses until you find a job. Some of my old Japanese students moved to Japan for work, but they visited Japan a few times then moved to stay in Japan using a tourist visa. As a tourist, you can stay in Japan for up to 90 days, so this would be perfect for you if you want to do sightseeing, meeting your Japanese friends and even attend a language school. But you do have to leave before the visa expires and you may return to Japan later, but you do have to leave the country and then reenter. A few people that I personally know had some issues re-entering at the airport. 🙁 Because of tightened security after 9/11, they screen visitors much more carefully.
If you are an American or you are from other countries which have visa waver agreements with Japan can just visit Japan without a visa for the first time, but what if you want to live in Japan. If you are seriously thinking about moving to Japan, there are several things to consider before packing your stuff and booking your flight.
1) How long do you plan to stay there?
2) What part of Japan do you want to live?
3)Do you have any friends whom you can stay with until you settle?
4) Do you have enough money to cover your basic expenses until your find a job in Japan?
5) How is your Japanese? Japanese people do not generally speak English well, and people speak only Japanese in Japan, so it makes sense. It is very important that you are able to communicate with Japanese people at least on a basic level so you can get by on your own.
6)Do you plan to work? If you plan to teach English, you can apply for a govern sponsored program called JET. I am not sure what type of restrictions they have on applicants, but you should check out their website.
If you already work for a company in your country, which is willing to move you to Japan, that would be the best scenario. But in most cases, you have to leave your current job to move to Japan. It is pretty scary to leave your family, friends and secure job and start all over again in a foreign country. I know how that feels, because I moved to Los Angeles when I was only 19 years old..I was very courageous although I don’t know if I would do anything like this again. But nothing is too late, and it is better to regret doing it or regret for not doing it.But my practical suggestion to all of my friends who want to live in Japan are to try to visit Japan, if you have never been there. Some people are so fascinated by Japanese culture but the reality ca be quite difference, and you wouldn’t know unless you live there. So I suggest you travel and try to experience what’s like to live in Japan before making a decision about moving there.
But if you’ve already been there and absolutely sure about moving to Japan, the next step you can take is to try to contact companies in Japan which are willing to hire you and sponsor your work visa. It is extremely rare. That’s why it is important to move there first before start sending out your resumes to companies in Japan. once you get a call, you can go to an interview right away if you already live there. A lot of people choose to teach English because it is probably the most popular occupation among westerners. Especially people who have just graduated from college move to Japan to teach English. It is quite common. If you already have a work experience in America, you can do a lot more than simply teaching English. There are tons of foreign invested firms which require professionals of all levels. You don’t necessarily have to work for Japanese companies. It would be much more challenging. If it is a foreign invested company (for example, Johnson and Johnson), they should have a division which hires English speaking people for business development, marketing strategy etc. No matter how much you study Japanese, it is extremely dificult to be equally competitive to those who actually grew up in Japan. Fortunately there are many foreign invested companies in Japan especially in the big cities, so you just have to look around for opportunities. But the most important thing is to identify your goal.
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